May 24 – Golf at Kenny Perry’s Country Creek & Great Lakes Loons @ Bowling Green Hot Rods
May 25 – Louisville Slugger Museum & Pawtucket Paw Sox @ Louisville Bats
May 26 – Indianapolis 500 & Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 (Heat @ Pacers)
May 27 – Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds
May 28 – Kannapolis Intimidators @ Lexington Legends
My drive on the 130 foot drop of Hole 12
Golf at Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course in Franklin, Kentucky – May 24, 2013
The course is owned and operated by Kenny Perry, PGA Tour golfer. It is labeled as the #6 public golf course in the state of Kentucky. We played the back tees which are pegged at 6,633 yards with a par of 72. The course is beautiful with many scenic views, the best of which is a 130 foot drop from tee box to fairway on Hole 12. Our tee time was set for 9:04, but we showed up around 8:15-8:30. The guy at the desk told us to go ahead and tee off when we were ready. Being the #6 public course in the state and owned by a PGA Tour player, you may think the price is expensive, but it only cost us $32 for 18 holes and a cart. The value, course layout, and staff were all A’s in my book. It was one of the best golf experiences I have ever had. I was able to shoot a 101 which was a little higher than I wanted, but I was playing with my buddy’s backup set of clubs. They were a nice set, but his dad bought them new in 1979, so they weren’t exactly up to par with today’s technology. I actually own the same exact driver as my buddy, so I did, however, use his driver, which helped out my game immensely. Head over to http://coopandmikesgolftrips.wordpress.com/ to check out course information, our scorecard, and our blog from this round.
Loons coming onto the field after Game 1 win
Great Lakes Loons @ Bowling Green Hot Rods (Doubleheader) – May 24, 2013
The Loons are the Single-A affiliate of the LA Dodgers and the Hot Rods are the Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. We showed up at 5:15, because the game was supposed to start at 7:00. We were asked by the guy in the parking lot if we were staying for both games, not knowing there was a doubleheader. The first game started at 5:00, so all we missed was the first inning. What was interesting was that both games were only 7 innings long, which isn’t something you normally see in the minors. The Loons won the first game 4-0 and the Hot Rods got the second game 4-2. Hot Rods Pitcher Matt Ramsey touched 97 mph in the 7th of the second game, as he came in to close it out. He was consistently in the mid-90s. It is really crazy to see a guy throw that hard in Class-A, and if so, he has terrible control, but Ramsey came into the game with a 0.77 ERA.
Large bat at the museum entrance
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Tour – May 25, 2013
The museum was really cool. They have life-size figures and bats of MLB greats. The tour went through the bat factory and told about how the bats are made. Our tour guide stopped us at each of the steps and talked to us about what went on at that stage, as well as show a short clip that explained the process. We were able to get a mini-bat with the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory logo on the bat which is a great keepsake. We also were able to grab a handle at the end of the tour. This isn’t the handle of the bat, but the handle that is off of the barrel of the bat for the purposes of grabbing while the bat is drying, and then sawed off after is has dried. They have a rack that holds all of the unmade bats for each player that has requested them. We were able to hold bats made for Derek Jeter and Brian McCann, among others. Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips’ bats were being made while we were on our tour.
Jackie Bradley Jr. and myself
Pawtucket Paw Sox @ Louisville Bats – May 25, 2013
The Paw Sox are the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and the Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The game turned out to be a very solid one. We got there just as the Paw Sox were finishing up batting practice. I saw someone signing autographs at the bottom of our row so I decided to go down there, but he left before I got down there. I stayed a couple minutes and just before leaving Jackie Bradley Jr. walked out of the dugout and over to the section. It turned out that I was standing next to about 6-8 people from Boston, and that was all that was around there. I stood there and listened as he talked to them about many different topics. He seems to be a really nice guy. I was able to sneak in and get my picture with him and his autograph as well. For the game, we saw a couple of home runs and a 6-5 Paw Sox victory. The big names were Jackie Bradley Jr. for Pawtucket and Billy Hamilton for Louisville. Bradley Jr. went 2-4 and Hamilton finished the night 3-5.
Some race action
Indianapolis 500 – May 26, 2013
This was the 97th Indy 500 and my first ever race period. I’m not going to say that the experience changed my take on racing and that I will start watching it more, but it was an awesome experience and I would definitely go back down the road. We got the cheapest seats that we could (outside of general admission), which were $40 on the infield at the end between turns one and two. The only downfall to the day was that we parked in one of the north lots and our seats were at the south end of the track. It took us close to an hour total walking time from our car to our seats. Even for the price we paid, being the cheapest “reserved” tickets you can have, we were able to get a great view of the cars and were actually really close to the track. The race itself was a great one. Three records were broken: most lead changes (68), most leaders (14), and fastest average speed (187.433 mph). You can also throw in that there were over 240 drug/alcohol related arrests which broke the previous record of around 125. There were five wrecks (all one-car wrecks) and the final one led to there being a checkered-caution finish. Tony Kanaan won the race for his first ever Indy 500 win. We talked to a guy at the Pacers game that night who was also at the race and he said he had been to about 30 Indy 500’s and this one made his top five, so we picked a good one to go to.
Game 3 Tip-off
Eastern Conference Finals (Game 3) Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers – May 26, 2013
We had great seats for this matchup as we were in the club level end about even with the sideline. We were actually in the last row of the level so there were no seats behind us and were at the end of the row at the top of the stairs so there were no seats in front of us either. The place was absolutely electric, at least until the Heat made their big run in the second quarter. The Heat led 70-56 at halftime. They would go on to win 114-96. LeBron led the game with 22 points. Wade added 18 and 8 assists. The Heat’s five starters all scored in double-figures. Four Pacers starters were in double-figures and were led by David West’s 21 points and 10 rebounds and Roy Hibbert’s 20 points and 17 rebounds. The major factor in the game was field goal percentage as the Heat shot 54.5% and the Pacers only shot 39.7%. Some other notes were that we got to see Shaq, Charles, Kenny, and Ernie on the TNT set at halftime and after the game which was really cool. ESPN’s Jon Barry and Mark Schwartz were at the media counter in front of our row as well.
Entrance of the stadium as we walked in
Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds – May 27, 2013
It was a great day for baseball on this Memorial Day. We met up with a couple buddies from college for the game. We walked around the stadium before the game started just to check it out since it was my first time ever at the stadium. The stadium is very nice being on the river and with some of the unique things they have inside. The game itself turned out to be a very solid one as well. Shin Soo Choo led off the bottom of the first with a opposite field home run. In the top of the 8th, the Reds led 2-1 until Jason Giambi pinch-hit and hit a bomb to straight-away center field that tied the game 2-2. In the bottom of the 8th, Joey Votto hit a 2-run homer to take the 4-2 lead. Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the 9th and mowed down the Indians as he consistently hit high 90s and hit 100 mph on three straight pitches.
Bubba Starling trotting home after his solo home run
Kannapolis Intimidators @ Lexington Legends – May 28, 2013
The Intimidators are the Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and the Legends are the Single-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. This is the first year that the Legends are with the Royals, as they have been with the Astros before this. The first three innings of this game went by in like 30 minutes, but it broke open in the top of the 4th. The Intimidators hit a couple of homers in the inning and put up five runs on the board. To make things worse for the Legends, Kannapolis put up seven more runs in the 5th, all with no outs, making it a 12-0 game. They would score another one late to give them 13 for the game. The only run for the Legends came late in the game on a solo home run by the Royals #1 prospect Bubba Starling. He hit it off of a 96 mph fastball right down the middle. The final would be 13-1 in favor of the Intimidators.